Is the HS2 twin-bore Chiltern Tunnel Design Safe?

The Society has written to Andrew Stephenson MP, Minister for HS2 asking for confirmation that the Chiltern Tunnel design will meet the Operational Safety Requirements.

We have engaged with HS2 Ltd over the past 10 years to establish whether the current Chiltern Tunnel Design is safe. We have asked a number of questions regarding evacuation procedures for which we have not received answers. Recently we were informed that they were not in a position to answer our questions.

If the design is not operationally safe, HS2 will not be able to run 18 trains per hour each way at 320kph. This would severely impact the Benefit/Cost Ratio, which is already poor.

The key issue is, if a train has to stop in a tunnel, the 1,100 people on board would need to be moved to a ‘Place of Safety’ prior to be being transferred to a Final Safe Place. Currently this requires the passengers to move to the ‘other tunnel’ via cross passages to stand on a platform 1.6m wide for up to two hours while waiting for already full trains to arrive to remove them.

HS2 – Letter to A Stephenson Jul 20